It’s been only a few days since former premier Kathy Dunderdale resigned her seat, but things are already starting to firm up around the race to replace her.
High-profile contenders have stepped forward to say they’ll seek the nomination for the Liberals and the NDP, and another big name is musing about running for the Tories.
Premier Tom Marshall has until late April to call a byelection, but depending on how the nomination meetings go, New Democrat Sheilagh O’Leary and Liberal Cathy Bennett could be knocking on doors and looking for votes as soon as this weekend.
Ever since October, when she was neck deep in the Liberal leadership race, Bennett has been saying she plans to run for the Liberals in Virginia Waters.
Of course, back when she originally said it, it looked like the election in that district would happen in October 2015, but Bennett told The Telegram Monday she’s already gearing up for the byelection.
“The people of Virginia Waters deserve a representative that comes to the table with ideas on how to address issues, knows how to get work done and can also ask tough questions,” she said. “This is, in fact, the district I’ve been in since I was 12 years old. I’ve lived here, I’ve gone to school here, I’ve worked here, my businesses have grown up here.”
Liberal nominations close Saturday.
Meanwhile, as a former city councillor and mayoral candidate, O’Leary said she believes she’s got a lot of support for a run under the NDP banner.
She said she’s not worried about the grim poll numbers and messy caucus revolt that hurt the NDP last fall.
“Polls go back and forth constantly, and now we seem to be in a season where people are flip-flopping their ideals and such back and forth from one party to another,” she said. “The one thing that I can say is that I’ve been a longtime NDP supporter. I’m there because I believe strongly in their social policies.”
NDP nominations close Thursday.
Either Bennett or O’Leary could be challenged for the nomination, but right now there’s no obvious challenger gunning for either party’s nomination.
That just leaves the Tories, and
St. John’s Coun. Danny Breen said Monday he’s seriously thinking about it.
Breen said he has always been interested in making the jump from city hall to the Confederation Building at some point, and he’s weighing his options.
“I’m definitely interested in doing this. The question is, is this the time?” he said. “It’s not like I’m wanting to leave municipal politics. I really enjoy it. I guess if I didn’t enjoy it, that would make the decision easier.”